The survivor in the 2017 female actor abduction and sexual assault case, has moved the Kerala High Court, alleging that the state government has attempted to hamper with further investigation.
Actor Dileep is currently facing trial as the chief conspirator in this case. At the end of 2021, the assault case gained momentum and a further probe was launched, when some serious allegations were levelled against Dileep by filmmaker Balachandra Kumar. Later, a new case was also registered against the actor and his associates, for allegedly conspiring to kill the investigating officers in the assault case.
Meanwhile, the survivor’s move comes in at the time, when the crime branch had concluded the further investigation and filed an additional charge sheet, naming actor Dileep’s friend Sharath as another accused in the case. Recently, he was arrested and released on bail for allegedly destroying crucial evidence.
In a petition submitted on Monday, the survivor critically remarked on the state government’s intentions as well as the integrity of the trial court judge hearing the case.
She alleged that Dileep unlawfully influenced some of the politicians in the ruling party through his sources. Stating that while the state government initially supported her, and allowed for a free, fair and full-fledged probe, the survivor pointed out that the system is reverting from doing the same, at present.
Further, she alleged that there has been pressure from high-ranking officials in the government to end the investigation halfway, due to which the investigating agency has filed the final report in a ‘half-baked manner.’
It may be noted that the probing team had earlier sought to question Dileep’s lawyers, who faced allegations of attempting to influence the witnesses. In her petition, the survivor has pointed out that this did not happen because the actor’s senior counsel and his associates had substantial influence within the government.
She added that the counsel had received some assurance from political authorities that they would not be roped into the investigating process.
“This clearly establishes the illegal nexus between the accused and the ruling front,” she stated.
Questioning the integrity of the trial court judge, she said, “the act of the presiding officer is highly suspicious.”
“The conduct of the presiding officer in obstructing the investigation in this matter clearly shows that she wants to illegally help the culprits. Her (the trial court judge) conducts in this regard if condoned or tolerated will be a disgrace to the judicial system, which assures equal protection under the law,” the survivor added.
The survivor stated that she has the fundamental right to get a fair trial and the right to justice and to know who has illegally accessed the memory card and tampered with it, as it is a violation of her fundamental right to privacy.
She added that it is the duty of the court to ascertain how the memory card was tampered with, while being in the custody of the court and find the culprits, who did so.
It was reported that the survivor sought a directive for the Additional Special Sessions Court in Ernakulam, to forward the application submitted by the investigating agency on April 4, along with the memory card to the State Forensic Science Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram.
She also sought another directive for the state police chief to investigate the change in the hash value of the memory card, which was under the supervision of the High Court, and take stringent action against the culprits.
Update: On Tuesday, the Kerala High Court Justice Kauser Edappagath recused from hearing the petition moved by the survivor. According to reports, the survivor had sought for the case to be listed under a different Bench before the Registrar yet the case was listed to be adjudicated by Justice Edappagath. When the matter was cited, the judge recused from hearing the case.
For a full timeline of the female actor abduction and assault case, see here.